Author Topic: Cleaning Routine  (Read 6067 times)

Lowflying

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Cleaning Routine
« on: 13 May 2012, 09:58:46 PM »
Reading some of the threads I am starting to doubt my current cleaning routine:

Hose down rather than pressure wash.
Wash with Autoglym bodywork shampoo applied with a sponge.
Hose off again.
Buff to dry with Autoglym Aqua Dry synthetic chamois.
Clean glass with Autoglym Fast Glass.
Wheels cleaned with shampoo using separate sponge and chamois to dry.
Interior cleaned with soft cloth. Leather treated once a year.
I use Autoglym Super Resin Polish + Extra Gloss Protection once a year.

Several questions have resulted from reading the threads:

Should I consider:
Micro fibre cloths instead of synthetic chamois?
Wash mitts instead of sponge?
Specific wheel care products?
Is there a role for pressure washing?
Specific products for interior cleaning?

Any thoughts would be most welcome!

LF



sgould

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #1 on: 13 May 2012, 10:15:26 PM »
Apart from the hosepipe ban, it seems fine!! :)

Although some people swear by the two bucket method and others say you should work from the bottom up....
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Lowflying

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #2 on: 13 May 2012, 10:23:49 PM »
Sorry to be dim but how does the 2 bucket routine go?

LF

Max Headroom

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #3 on: 13 May 2012, 10:36:13 PM »
Sorry to be dim but how does the 2 bucket routine go?

LF

Hmmm I thought I put a link in one of the other threads here, but basically if you are using sponge and chamois still, then yes switch to a lambswool mitt - (don't get a Halfords one though - it falls to bits) I have a Meguiars one that has lasted years. Microfibre drying towels no chamois leathers.

Two bucket method is one bucket with the soap in it (and hopefully a gritguard) and another bucket with just water for rinsing.

This is the link - it labours the point a bit, but it is possibly one of the best videos explaining what/why & how

Two bucket method explained

« Last Edit: 13 May 2012, 10:38:47 PM by Trenchfoot »

Max Headroom

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #4 on: 13 May 2012, 10:46:26 PM »


Should I consider:
Micro fibre cloths instead of synthetic chamois?      YES!
Wash mitts instead of sponge?                            Definately!
Specific wheel care products?                                Not that necessary but if you have good wheels, its nice to keep them that way
Is there a role for pressure washing?                    It uses less water than rinsing soap off with a bucket. Can be used for snow-foaming
Specific products for interior cleaning?                   It's a personal preference. If you have leather, then try Gliptone



Lowflying

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #5 on: 14 May 2012, 10:22:38 PM »
Thanks Trenchfoot - missed link in earlier post! Thanks also for addressing individual Q.

LF

Max Headroom

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #6 on: 14 May 2012, 11:06:23 PM »
I have been using these methods for some years now and I am convinced they make a big difference.

I remain astonished at the amount of grit that still washes off the car even after wetting it with the pressure washer (to soften everything), then snow-foaming (the busting bubbles in the foam draw dirt off the car and further softens/wet remaining dirt with no physical contact) followed by bucket washing with woollen mit. 

Prior to that method, I was unwittingly washing my car with a spongeful of grit!  :-[

Let me know if you want any more clarification/explanations or recommendation of products.
The hardest colours to get to look shiny are white and silver, but it can be done!

Lowflying

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #7 on: 15 May 2012, 09:57:21 PM »
This is all very interesting - I think I might try some new techniques just to see what difference it makes over my usual routine.

I have always been happy with Autoglym products - are the mitts and micro fibre cloths they produce OK? Any definite does/donts when it comes to these products?

I have always found pressure washing disappointing compared to a hose and sponge ?am I doing something wrong.

I now have a blue rather than silver car so this should help and the paintwork seems in such good nick that I feel inclined to keep it that way. The wheels seem in pretty good nick too. I always felt my silver car looked good but comparing the paintwork on the new[er] car I think perhaps not!

LF

Max Headroom

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #8 on: 15 May 2012, 11:48:42 PM »
Well! Where to begin!?

LF, Is the car you have a dark blue? Dark colours shine up well, but are notoriously difficult to keep clean looking as dust shows up as much as dirt.
Whatever you have, it will be a labour of love; I can happily spend an entire weekend cleaning the car. It is rewarding but it can become darned addictive

Pressure washing alone is not quite enough, so don't think you will get the car gleaming with just a pressure washer although it softens up the grime, and knocks a good deal of the dirt off it needs some help. The help comes in the shape of a snow-foam lance - a bottle that feeds snow-foam into the jet and puts a thick blanket of foam over the car.
The action of the bubbles bursting and the heavy foam slowly falling from the car draws dirt off the surface.
This is then followed by the two-bucket method hand wash described earlier - I use Meguiars Gold Class shampoo, but it's all trial and error. Finally it's back to the pressure washer to rinse it all down. Then the car should be towel dried using microfibre drying towels I use a couple of THESE. (I also keep a couple in the boot of my convertible to dry the roof off so it isn't folded up wet)

Different polishes work in different ways and again are trial and error, and down to personal preference - one of my favourites is Auto Glym Super Resin Polish (AGSRP) this is a good polish as it helps fill minute scratches and gives a small amount of protection, so if you already have AGSRP then you're onto a good start!

I have tried a lot of different waxes from Poorboys to Dodo Juice, but Meguiars NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0 was easily available in Halfords, but for that really super wet finish I have now stuck with Collinite 845 Insulator Wax. The beauty of Collinite is it leaves very little residue. If I have time, I will wax the car leaving it for a good 45 mins before buffing it off with a handful of inexpensive microfibre cloths - cheap ones will do nicely providing that the edge stitching is soft. If I have time I'll give it two coats of wax - again with another 45mins dwell time.

Periodically I will remove wheels and wash them on both sides, but for finish I use Planet Polish Wheel Seal & Shine - this stuff seems to help keep brake dust from bonding itself into the paint. Finally a tyre dressing - I use Meguiars Hot Shine applied with a Meguiars tyre dressing applicator pad (Keeps it off your hands and puts an even coating on the tyre) Both easily available in Halfords. Again though this is all personal choice.

Do's and Dont's - try not polish and wax in bright sun. Sometimes unavoidable but I set a gazebo up over the car if its really hot and sunny.
Don't drop the mitt or cloth on the ground and carry on using it - chances are its full of grit that you can't see.
On windy days mind where the snowfoam drifts to

All this sounds like a huge amount of work  ...And we haven't even looked at the interior or glass yet! But its rewarding and somewhat addictive and even therapeutic to some degree

Snowfoaming Link

Detailing World A huge source of info on car cleaning!


Lowflying

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #9 on: 16 May 2012, 09:48:50 PM »
Great info + links. Thanks  :)

Car is light blue so might even stay shiny for a few days after a good clean!

LF

Max Headroom

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #10 on: 17 May 2012, 01:09:00 AM »
If it's light blue, then definately try the Collinite 845. I swear by it, and it would have to be something very special to persuade me otherwise.

The detailing world site has plenty of 'before & after' pics and often the results are staggering

smurkenstein

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #11 on: 22 May 2012, 08:51:31 PM »
I follow most of the above recommendations.

I don't belive it is possible to only jetwash - possibly, if you use hot water it might work.

I also use the collinite in the winter as a good coat will repel water nearly all winter.

Never use TFF (strips the wax and dullens the rubbers), never let the garage clean the car (*groan* the dirty bucket brigade), never use the car wash. Avoid trees :)

Here is my cleaning detail:

SSF snowfoam with a custom applicator on the Karcher (apply from dry and dwell for about 5 mins).
Megs Hot wheel cool rims with a brush and jet wash lance.
Rinse off foam with the lance (yes, the lance, but be ultra careful as getting too close will take of paint where there are chips).
Wash the surface top to bottom with a little Megs shampoo - but as little as you dare - too much and the wax wont last as long. Too little and you lose the lubricating and cleaning effect. I use the two bucket method. Hot water. Microfibre mit or labswool mitt.
If its hot outside, do the car in parts and wash off the suds to stop them from drying on the car.
Finish off with a good water rinse and dry with a waffle weave towel. :) I tried the leaf blower last weeked but it was pants - don't recommend that.
If I am not going to wax, I use Megs quick details and micorfibre.

Then to the wax.

I usually use a clay bar with Megs quick detail as a lubricant.
Swirl and scratches: Polish using megs DA polisher with Sonus restore and the white sonus pad, followed by a lighter grade polish for ultra shine. I polish once a year at the start of summer.
Remove with a dry cloth.
In summer I wax with Megs gold class and collinte marque d'excellence in the winter.
I only work about 1/3rd of the car at a time as the whole car is too labor intensive.

*If you want to go the polisher route, I'd recommend reading up on the technique. If the car is not very clean you can abrase impurities into the paint and make things worse. Generally, if you can feel a scratch with your finger nail, you can improve its looks by polishing and waxing, but you wont remove it without more radical efforts. The sonus polish and pads I use are quite gentle and good for swirls. A point light source, eg the sun on a not too hot day, is good for cheking your progress. As always, when you polish its important not to go too deep too frequently as it can remove the paint and the gloss layer.
« Last Edit: 22 May 2012, 09:14:08 PM by smurkenstein »

smurkenstein

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #12 on: 22 May 2012, 09:19:02 PM »
Other OCD things I do ;)

I use back to black on all the plastics and rubbers once a year.
Polsh the zorst with a halfords metal polish.
Use water repellant on side and rear withdows  :-\
And best of all - the tow bar - I use back to black on the painted area and a thin layer of silver hammerite on the ball (I keep the ball exposed and not covered  :o ). I keep the tow bar on most of the time as I like to use the bike rack and it stops fools from reversing into my nice shiny bumpers   ;D

Audax

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #13 on: 22 May 2012, 10:16:34 PM »
I keep the tow bar on most of the time as I like to use the bike rack and it stops fools from reversing into my nice shiny bumpers   ;D

The only trouble with that is that if you get a slightly harder than normal knock that deforms the boot floor it can then write the car off rather than it just requiring a new bumper!

Max Headroom

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Re: Cleaning Routine
« Reply #14 on: 23 May 2012, 08:15:23 AM »
Smurkenstein how often are you using a mechanical polisher? And is the DA a rotary or orbital? I nearly went down that route when I my old Peugeot but sold the car before I needed it. It's certainly a technique I would like to learn - even if it is scary when you understand the potential damage that can be done!

Lowflying - I dont think I mentioned claying, but clay is available in Halfords and is worth doing every 2 or 3 years to remove build up of tree sap and tar. Its a bit daunting at first, but the results are truly worthwhile and definately worth doing if the car has never been clayed.

Another consideration is water hardness. I have a water softener installed (I would never be without it now for more reasons than just car cleaning!) but that helps eliminate those watermarks that Smurkenstein mentioned. My neighbour uses rainwater from the water-butt and finds that to be very soft in comparison to local Cotswold hard water, but I often wonder what chemicals have washed down out of the atmosphere with it.


And I will definately second not allowing the garage to wash the car! They mean well, but.... !!!! :o